Senna Leaf Tea Information

Senna (Cassia angustifolia) is a small shrub that grows in regions of the upper Nile of North Africa and Arabia. The ancient Egyptian doctors used senna over 3500 years ago for their royal patients and the elite. It was also used by the Arabian physicians as far back 9th century A.D. After being introduced to Europe during the Crusades, its popularity as an herbal remedy exploded. While available as single product, senna is often combined with a variety of aromatic herbs.

Today senna is a commonly used laxative and is found as an active ingredient in products such as Senokot, Fletcher's Castoria, and Ex-Lax Gentle Nature. Senna can be found growing naturally in most tropical regions of the world. Both its leaves and its seeds are medicinal. Senna is able to relieve constipation by stimulating the colon, whereby speeding along the passage of the contents. Consequently, there is less time for fluid to be absorbed from the stool and it remains soft.

Dosage and Preparation

Senna is taken orally using dosages that include 20 to 60 milligrams of pure senna extract. The strength of commercial preparations may vary, so follow the manufacturer's recommendations found on the packaging.

Senna is available as a crushed herb, as a liquid, or as a powdered extract. Senna tea can is prepared by pouring hot (but not boiling) water over 1/2 to 2 grams (one-quarter teaspoon) of crushed senna herb, steep for about 10 minutes and strain. Senna tea can also be prepared by steeping crushed senna for 12 hours in cold water and then straining. Many individuals claim that preparing senna as a cold tea produces less resin in the tea, whereby decreasing the likelihood of abdominal cramps.